Jan 20, 2018 | Updated: 09:54 AM EDT

New Supermolecule Locates & Eliminates Harmful Drugs From Water

Apr 13, 2017 07:35 AM EDT

Recently, scientists discovered a supermolecule, an eco-friendly substance to oversee and eliminate pharmaceuticals from water. The study was led by a University of Surrey academic.

A new supermolecule, calix[4], helped to detect pharmaceuticals that entered the aquatic environment after being used to treat humans and animals. The pollutants could be removed as metabolites. They were mostly unused discharge or residues in drugs, according to Science Daily.

The supermolecule works when water gets polluted and causes serious worry for environmental activists. These toxins include hormones from the contraceptive pill, as well as pesticides and herbicides. They also include metals such as mercury, arsenic, or cadmium, earlier used in paint. They even use substances endangering important species such as bees.

Professor Danil de Namor, University of Surrey Emeritus Professor and leader of the research, said: that with preliminary extraction data, there is a lot of possibility of using the receptor in order to selectively eliminate drugs from water, along with the possibility of building up the supermolecules that are "calix[4]-based sensing devices."

He also said that along with the supermolecule, they can design receptors that bind selectively with pollutants in the water and then get removed. Due to this study, scientists will be able to understand the real content in the water, after which it would get tested in industrial water supplies. That would lead to clean water for all. The materials can be used for on-site monitoring of water. They do not have to be transported to the laboratory.

The supermolecule is a new kind of substance that can be applied to solve many issues. Recently, one invention could help to solve the nuclear waste problem, according to The Daily Caller.

Dr. Brendan Howlin, University of Surrey co-investigator of the supermolecule to eliminate drugs from water, said that they can now visualize specific receptor-drug interactions that move on to the "selective behavior" of the receptor. Apart from the fact that the research on the supermolecule is health-giving, it would also be applicable for a range of materials.

The research on the supermolecule was conducted by Ph.D. students as well as a final year project student. The research activities have also taken place with the Department of Chemical and Processing Engineering (CPI) and the Advanced Technology Institute (ATI).

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